“The nuances and features of Morgan amps for anyone to access”: Neural DSP brings coveted modern boutique amp tones to its latest plugin

Neural DSP is closing out the year with one more plugin release, the Morgan Amps Suite. It features three models of Morgan amps – the AC20, PR12 and SW50R – two overdrive pedals, a tremolo and '70s-inspired tape delay for a virtualized replica of Morgan’s vintage/modern amplifiers.

Founded in 2009, Morgan amps have been played by the likes of Tosin Abasi (Animals As Leaders), Michael Landau (James Taylor) and Josh Smith (Joe Bonamassa, Raphael Saadiq). Now, the firm has collaborated with Neural DSP for a plugin version of three of its models to offer a more affordable way for players to achieve Morgan tones.

In its superlative-laced press release, the Finnish plugin designers believe that "few brands shine as brightly as Morgan Amplification". With its vintage-inspired but modern-minded amps designed to integrate with complex pedalboards, it’s a savvy choice that three of its single-channel amps have now been made available in the digital realm.

The AC20 is a 20-watt amp based on the Vox AC30 and is said to offer “rich, thick tones at high gain settings”. The PR12, meanwhile, is a more compact 12-watt amp based on the Fender Princeton Reverb that, alongside being viable for clean and overdriven tones, features a spring reverb.

Then there’s the higher output, 50-watt SW50R. It’s inspired by Dumble cleans but comes loaded with a tube-driven reverb tank for extra spice. The physical amps are entirely hand-wired and built to order, and often a go-to for grunge and stoner tones. Luckily, there will be no thumb-twiddling wait list with its digital twin.   

As with every Neural DSP offering, the Morgan Amps Suite is equipped with pre- and post-effects and processing. On the pre-amp side, there’s a compressor pedal based on the circuits found in high-end recording consoles. It has a blend knob and a two-way attack switch. Here, its fast and snappy setting could bolster funk grooves, with the slow setting mimicking more traditional compressors to suit legato and slide playing.

There are also two overdrive pedals. The OD1 strives for a warm midrange, whilst the OD2 is more gung-ho, offering much higher gains. Its in-built tremolo pedal, meanwhile, is inspired by the analog tremolo circuits found on classic American vintage amps and features a sync ability. 

Jump over to the post-amp effects and you’ll find a ‘70s-like tape-echo unit, modernised with tap tempo, a ping-pong mode and HP/LP filters. There’s also what Neural calls a “studio-grade” reverb that “covers everything from subtle reflections to infinite ethereal soundscapes”.

All of those features are pushed through a Morgan 112 cabinet equipped with a virtual Celestion Creamback speaker. The cab sim has a fixed-baffle design which draws inspiration from ‘60s style builds and can be further tweaked with a 9-band graphic EQ and HP/LP filters for all three amp models.  

The transposition feature first unveiled in Archetype: Petrucci is present too, allowing players to pitch shift their guitar up or down by 12 semitones to give your tuning pegs a well-deserved break.

The plugin is rounded off with a doubler feature for a double-tracked stereo impression, a metronome with time signature, note value and accent controls, and a live tuner at the bottom of the interface.

Says Neural CPO Francisco Cresp: “What we share with guitarists is a deep and abiding respect for legacy sound. Our modeling technology has been able to precisely capture the nuances and features of the Morgan amps, and bring them to life in a plugin version for anyone to access to their fullest extent.”

The Morgan Amp Suite comes in at $99, the usual price for its non-signature plugins.

Its release comes hot on the tails of Archetype: Mateus Asato, which launched in October, and news that the updated Archetype: Plini X will be the first plugin to have compatibility with the Quad Cortex floor modeller.

For more information, head on over to the Neural DSP website.

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Phil Weller

A freelance writer with a penchant for music that gets weird, Phil is a regular contributor to Prog, Guitar World, and Total Guitar magazines and is especially keen on shining a light on unknown artists. Outside of the journalism realm, you can find him writing angular riffs in progressive metal band, Prognosis, in which he slings an 8-string Strandberg Boden Original, churning that low string through a variety of tunings. He's also a published author and is currently penning his debut novel which chucks fantasy, mythology and humanity into a great big melting pot.